Is Aam Admi Party official? HC tells EC to show paperwork

The Delhi High Court yesterday asked the Election Commission to give complete details of registration of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as an official political party.

A bench of acting Chief Justice B D Ahmed and Justice S Mridul directed the EC to file an affidavit indicating the factual position of AAP's registration.

The direction came as the court is hearing a plea by one Hans Raj Jain, who has alleged that provisions of State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act have been violated by the AAP, as its registration application contained the 'chakra' logo as depicted in the national flag.

He has further challenged AAP's registration on the allegation that it used ''forged'' documents to register itself with the EC.

The poll panel will have to state in its affidavit whether it acted in accordance with law while registering the party.

"Counsel for the respondent (EC) to file an affidavit indicating the factual position behind registration of AAP," the bench said, adding in an indication of its probable attitude to the case, "Give us a short affidavit taking a stand that you acted in accordance with law."

Listing the matter for further hearing on 8 May, the bench suggested to Jain that if he feels there has been a violation of the law by AAP, he should seek sanction from the union government to lodge a complaint through appropriate channels.

During the proceedings, counsel for the EC said that the commission had received complaints against the registration of AAP and had written to the party, which had replied that it would not be using the 'chakra' as an emblem or symbol.

It also said that the Act concerned does not apply in this case as the a national emblem cannot be used "for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession....", and a political party is more like a "social organisation".

It also contended that it is not the competent authority to enforce the provisions of the Act.

Under the Act, the penalty for using national emblem for wrongful gain is imprisonment for up to two years or fine which may extend to Rs5,000, or both.